As a major green-energy buyer worldwide, Microsoft closed a deal recently with Indian energy supplier Atria Power, purchasing 3 MW PV power from the latter, which will meet 80% of the power need of its office in Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka state in southern India.
On the first green-energy deal in India, Rob Bernard, Microsoft's environmental strategist, noted that Microsoft and India both have ambitious green-energy goals, for which they will invest extensively in renewable energy.
The deal, said Bernard, will facilitate Microsoft's deployment in the green-energy market, while contributing to the development of India's solar-energy market and boosting share of green energy, thereby making India one step closer to the goal of the Paris Agreement.
Green energy to power datacenters worldwide
The deal is the latest one in Microsoft's global green-energy investment plan. It, for instance, struck a deal, the first in Asia, with Singaporean solar-energy firm Sunseap, calling for construction of 60 MW solar-energy systems on rooftops of hundreds of buildings, whose output will be purchased by Microsoft for consumption by its Singaporean datacenter.
In the future, more and more Microsoft datacenters will be powered by renewable energy. In 2017, there were already two Microsoft datacenters powered by green energy entirely. Microsoft inked an agreement with GE last Oct., according to which it will purchase entire power output of GE's Tullahennel wind farm in Holland in the next 15 years, for powering Microsoft's cloud-end services in Ireland. Microsoft also entered an agreement with Vattenfall of Sweden purchasing entire power output of the latter's Wieringermee wind farm in Holland, to supply to the power need of its international datacenter in Holland in the next 10 years.
Microsoft set a goal in 2016 having 50% of its datacenters worldwide powered by renewable energy, including wind power, solar energy, and hydraulic power, by 2018 and 60% by 2020, which will be raised further subsequently. For attaining the goal, the company has purchased 900 MW renewable energy, including wind power, solar energy, and hydraulic power. The focus in Europe is wind power, while purchase in the U.S. is more diversified.
Engagement of other tech firms
Many other major hi-tech firms have also subscribed to the cause of green energy, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As early as 2013, Apple had already had its datacenters powered by green energy entirely and has continued to do so for most of its new datacenters subsequently. Likewise, Google had attained a similar goal at the end of 2017 and has even signed contracts with 20 wind-power and solar energy suppliers for purchase totaling 3 GW in capacity, which can meet the power needs of all of its offices and datacenters.
In the same vein, Amazon has invested heavily in green energy, having purchased green power to the tune of 1.5 GW by the end of 2017, and has even planned to install solar-energy panels on the rooftops of its 50 distribution centers by 2020. Having had half of its datacenters powered by green energy in 2017, AWS has targeted raising the share to 100%.
Except renewable-energy investment, Facebook has designed new-type data centers, overhauling servers and cooling systems, which raise energy efficiency by 38% and cut construction cost by 24%, with power consumption only half that of traditional datacenters.
(Written by Daisy Chuang; Photo courtesy of Pixabay)